The Society received over $1000 in donations from individuals and businesses to help purchase a bench in memory of Kit Willmot, an extraordinary community volunteer.
The bench is located in the Ladysmith Cemetery.
Born on 10th August 1925 in London, England, Kit joined the Royal Artillery near the end of WW11 and served in India in the NW Frontier until 1947, overseeing a number of tense situations in the conflict around the partition of India and Pakistan.
A demanding shift work job and young family precluded Kit from volunteering in his early life, but as soon as he moved to a less demanding job in 1975 his passion for volunteering kicked in.
This was in Woodstock, a historic Cotswold village near Oxford. His voluntary activities there included the Historical Society, the Anglican Church and being a parish counsellor, which led to him becoming Mayor of Woodstock in 1986. Kit and Molly moved to Ladysmith in 1989. In 1997 Molly died and Kit’s voluntary work in Ladysmith really took off.
His volunteering work included the Ladysmith & District Historical Society/Archives; St. John’s Anglican Church; Medi-Rentals, Ladysmith Hospital Auxiliary and Meals on Wheels. He helped found the Ladysmith Food Bank in 1998. Known as Mr Food Bank, he performed a whole range of roles in this: fund raising and collecting food from supermarkets and charitable givers; bagging up and distribution of food parcels; and doing correspondence, including personal thank-you letters, on behalf of the Food Bank.
Kit was well known in the community as the Take 5 historical columnist, writing monthly stories under the Looking Back column as well as helping compile the award-winning Ladysmith Centennial Book. He also worked with Viola Cull in producing a Ladysmith history book. He loved research and compiled a historical walking tour of the downtown which is still in use today.
Before his health declined, Kit was a regular at public events. He attended every basketball game and drama and improv at the Ladysmith Secondary School and even took a turn at acting with Yellow Point Drama Group.
In 2005, he was voted Citizen of the Year in recognition of his volunteering activities.
Ladysmith Mayor Rob Hutchins said,
“Kit Willmot is unique in that his volunteer activities spanned all ages and lifestyles and the volume of his contributions.”
Source: TAKE 5 Magazine.
To view the text of an interview done with Kit by Rollie Rose in 1997, please click on the link Keeping our heritage alive